Spain property prices rise fastest
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by Kay Mitchell
Research by mortgage lender Halifax has established that property prices in Spain have risen at a quicker rate than anywhere in Europe over the last 5 years, even outperforming a strong UK market. The cost of a Spanish property doubled between 2001 and 2006 â€“ soaring by 57% in the last 2 years.
Over the same 5-year period, prices in the UK were up 90%, more than double the 40% average across the Europe overall. The strength of the Spanish economy and low interest rates have driven Spainâ€™s housing market.
Spain also has a higher percentage of homeowners than any other eurozone nation. 82% of its inhabitants are owner-occupiers, compared with 55% in the Netherlands and 45% in Germany. In the UK, the owner-occupier rate is 70%.
Portugal and Austria recorded the lowest price inflation over 5 years, with prices increasing by 7% and 6% respectively, in Germany prices fell by 5%.
However, in spite of the 100% increase in prices over the past 5 years, Spain is not the most expensive eurozone country in which to buy a house, that goes to Ireland, where the average house price reached Â£209,300 in 2006. This compared with an average of Â£190,900 in the Netherlands, Â£187,100 in the UK and Â£150,200 in Spain.
Finland has the cheapest properties in the eurozone where the average house price was Â£92,300.
A spokesperson for the Halifax commented that Irelandâ€™s strong economy, immigration and the creation of new homes are responsible for Irelandâ€™s property prices. In addition, Ireland house prices are now equal to those in the south-east of England, with Dublin as expensive to live in as London.
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